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Silk Noir Reviews
Author: Heal Butcher
Date: 2001

Reviewed by Duncan Bowsman

As with "The Wheels Must Turn," Heal Butcher's unique writing is the star here. This piece also has much the same tone as "Wheels"-- a super-dark, somewhat absurdist piece one might speculate was written with chemical assistance-- but it approaches the same themes of grotesquerie from a slightly different angle that allows the player the sense of agency missing from Heal's other work. Admittedly, it is quite short adventure, but the suggestive worldbuilding evidenced in it is so strongly compelling it's hard not to get sucked in.

Reviewed by David Whyld (1)


I'd like to start this review by saying that I don't have a clue what the game was about but I liked it all the same. The writing was pretty damn amazing and made the whole game seem to come to life. 

Puzzles were, well, puzzling. There wasn't a whole lot to do in the game (which consists of nothing more than 4 locations though often it seems a lot larger) and most of the time you just repeated your last command until something happened. 

Re-written as a proper sized game - and with maybe an explanation as to what it's all about - this would be essential playing. 

10 out of 10 for the writing, 7 out of 10 for the game itself comes to 

8 out of 10

Reviewed by David Whyld (2)

I've been playing text adventures for close to twenty years and in all that time, this has to be, without a doubt, the strangest one I have ever come across. It's downright weird, almost frighteningly so. And, also, quite brilliant.

Giving a description of just what Silk Noil is about is difficult because, even after finishing the game and playing through it several more times to try and get a better idea, I still don't really have a clue about it. It's one of those games which plays at times more like a strange trip through the writer's mind than a 'real' game in the sense that most of us would define a real game. There are no real puzzles to solve and the game can be completed in less than a dozen moves. The 'objective' - if such a word can be applied to a game like Silk Noil - is to seize a key from the strange Silk King and open a door with it, although quite why is never explained and little is achieved even after the door is opened. But then I suspect that Silk Noil was never really designed as a game in which puzzles need to be solved: the idea was to write something strange and original - and at this Silk Noil clearly excels.

If you persevere with the game and try to overcome the sheer strangeness of it, Silk Noil is quite a captivating little game - the emphasis being on "little" as there are no more than four locations in total to explore although because of the lengthy descriptions given to each and the way part of the description often changes through clever use of events it sometimes seems to be a far larger game than it really is. The writing is excellent from start to finish though at times is pretty hard going. It takes several read throughs before you fully understand just what the writer is trying to say and even then you might find yourself shaking your head in confusion a time or two.

Silk Noil clearly isn't a game that will appeal to a large audience: it's too strange to have mass appeal and the style of writing is off-putting when you first start playing it. Also there are the strange references to the Silk King spraying perfume from a phallic shaped bottle onto his crotch whilst being crawled upon by a host of minute women that I can well imagine would dissuade more than a few people. I guess this is the sort of game that will divide players into two groups: those who love it and those who hate it. Personally I loved it.

Logic: 3 out of 10
The game made no sense whatsoever although I'm sure this was intentional.

Problems: 10 out of 10 (10 = no problems)
Weirdness aside, Silk Noil had no real problems although the game is so strange it would be a challenge noticing them in any event.

Story: 7 out of 10
Bizarre would be the best way to describe it. It held my attention for the time I was playing it although I'd really struggle to give a decent description of what it was about.

Characters: 7 out of 10
Only the aforementioned Silk King who was the strangest character I've ever come across while playing a text adventure.

Writing: 9 out of 10
Truly inspiring.

Game: 7 out of 10
Speaking from the group of people who loved the game, I'm giving it 7 out of 10 although I could well understand people rating it 1. At worst, view it as something different and original and the sort of game you're never likely to come across again.

Overall: 43 out of 60

Reviewed by Eric Mayer

A weird tale

Short and weird -- that is to say like something out of Weird Tales magazine circa 1930. The lush, evocative and very strange description is worth the price of admission. Well, that's a bad way to put it since the game's free but you know what I mean. The thing is studded with exotic word gems. Psittacistic. They don't use words like that any more!

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